During the coronavirus pandemic, many locals have found it tough to do the normal holiday functions with their families over the holiday season due to the COVID restrictions.
But one local business has bucked this trend by coming up with an ideal solution by offering outdoor experience packages for the whole family.
In July of 2018, Drew Stoll, his wife Angelica and daughter Christina, launched a new family business on the east side of Woodland Park called Great Outdoors Adventures. The family moved to the area from Fort Collins to launch their outdoor touring and rental company after their vast experience in outdoor consulting.
The family is not new to the recreation industry as Drew Stoll also operates Great Outdoors Consultants, which works towards consulting, planning, and designing maps. “We said let’s take all of this experience we have with the consulting work we have done all of these years, which is really designing, planning and creating maps for recreation but it really wasn’t actually providing recreation,” Drew Stoll said.
“So, the idea for Great Outdoors Adventures is that we provide really safe, quality experiences that are based in the National Forest. We have taken all of our background experience in tourism, consulting, maps and then said, ‘how do we apply that to get people out to the forest so they have a safe, quality experience?’”
The company has a private trailhead for their customers to take rented Polaris off-road vehicles on, and they also rent slingshots from their store location. “We definitely wanted to connect families to nature,” co-owner Angelica Stoll said. “That is one of the major objectives we have had is to really bring families together and introduce to them the beauty of the Pike National Forest.”
The company has a deal with Polaris so they are able to rent new “side-by-side” vehicles that can sit two, four, or six people. The private trailhead has a restroom, running water, access to maps and internet service. Those who wish to take their own vehicles can purchase a trail pass where they can access several national forest trails in their own ATV and they have the option to rent extra vehicles for visiting friends and family members.
Anyone who rents an off-road vehicle from the company is supplied with helmets and is given a safety video on how to operate the vehicles. All of the vehicles also come with a tablet that has their outdoor trail maps linked to it so drivers can see where they are on the map and find landmark locations, such as scenic outlooks.
The Stolls said that they rent both to local residents and visitors to the area, wishing to have a unique outdoor experience. They have even rented their vehicles to those having birthday parties and for other events, including a marriage engagement.
Locals wishing to experience the outdoors while getting into the Christmas spirit can go on a special tour during the 2020 holiday season.
Parade of Lights in the Forest
“For this December to celebrate this 2020, we decided to do a parade of lights in the forest,” Angelica Stoll said. “Which customers can really enjoy the evening because we have Christmas lights all covered on the side-by-sides. So, it just gives people a magical adventure between having the Christmas lights, having snow on the ground and the blue skies just make it a beautiful experience.”
Out of the shop located just off of Hwy 24 on the east side of town, the company also rents slingshots which can provide a different experience. “The slingshots, we call them a scenic touring vehicle,” said Drew Stoll. “Many of our customers that rent them really enjoy the motorcycle experience. And they might not have their motorcycle with them while they are travelling or some people after a while just don’t want to ride a motorcycle anymore because they could tip over and the risks are higher in a motorcycle. So, they really enjoy the open-air feeling of a sling shot. It has a very appealing look to it too. So, people like the style of it a lot of people say it looks like a Batmobile.”
The slingshots are a pavement only vehicle so they are used on streets for people to see the mountains. Some people rent them to take them on scenic highway adventures including trips to Cripple Creek, up the Pikes Peak Highway or further west to the Buena Vista area.
Inside their store in Woodland Park, Great Outdoors Adventures sells maps they made of the local trails.
One map shows all of the off-road trails in the area, and another map is made specifically for all of the hiking and biking trails in Woodland Park.
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